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Still giving back: Calder Woods resident exemplifies life of service

Sibyl Allen learned the importance of helping others and giving back at a very young age. Growing up in the Depression, she saw her parents help others as much as they could.

Sibyl says she often took two lunches to school during that time – one for herself and one for whoever else needed one. Her mother held Vacation Bible schools in her home for all the children in the neighborhood, and taught them to sew and cook so they could go back to their families and help.

“My parents taught me how to do things for other people,” she says. “I saw that all the time in my home … It’s my pleasure. I get more fun out of it than they do.”

Sibyl has lived at Calder Woods for eight years. Once she got there, she immediately saw a way to help other residents. She goes to visit residents in assisted living at least three times a week, to talk and sit with them and keep them company.

“When I was younger, my cousin was having trouble finding a job as a nurse after she graduated,” Sibyl says. “My parents took all their Christmas money and helped get her started. my parents taught me how to do things for other people. I saw that all the time in my home.”

She also drives people who no longer drive around Beaumont when they need it.

At 90 years old, Sibyl continues to give back, not only to her Calder Woods community, but to a special group of people in Wildwood, Texas.

About 20 years ago, Sibyl and her husband, Don, decided to start a camp for disabled youth. They knew of two men in their early 20s who were in wheelchairs and needed a help starting a camp for others in wheelchairs. There were a lot of opportunities with the lake nearby but the men needed help getting it started.

Don and Sibyl were at a lunch one day, discussing the idea for a camp with others, and found people were hesitant to get involved. Finally, John stood up and said, “Yes, we must do it. We must get involved.”

Because of their generous contributions, the camp now has an annual Don Allen Sports Day. Sibyl and her family go every year and volunteer at the event.

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